Opposition UPND Presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema has rejected the outcome of the 20 January, 2015 presidential election, calling it a sham.
Mr Hichilema, who took part in the polls for the fourth consecutive time, has accused the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) of having announced false results.
Speaking at a press briefing this morning, Mr Hichilema said his main challenger PF's Edgar Lungu would be declared winner but he will be an illegitimate president.
An hour after Mr Hichilema spoke, ECZ Chairperson Ireen Mambilima released the latest presidential results from 141 constituencies which show that Mr Lungu had polled 789,848 votes (47.9%) and Mr Hichilema was at 776,832 votes (47.1%).
Results of the remaining nine constituencies are expected to be announced tonight at 18:00hrs and the winning candidate will be inaugurated tomorrow at the Heroes National Stadium in Lusaka.
Below is the speech Mr Hichilema read at the press briefing:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
24 January 2015
Edgar Lungu steals election
A stolen election does not reflect the will of the people and is not going to deliver.
As you know we've yet to hear the final few constituencies announced by the Electoral Commission of Zambia, however it is with deep regret that we now already know the predetermined result.
They intend to announce victory for PF candidate, Edgar Lungu,
The United Party for National Development will always respect the views of the people we seek to serve, and our party is built upon upholding our country's key democratic values and transparency.
However, what we have seen unfold over the last few days could not have been further away from the democratic process we aspire to uphold and the results announced do not reflect accurately the voting numbers that occurred on the 20 th January 2015.
This has not been a level playing field from the start. We have experienced widespread violence against our supporters and party members throughout the campaign as well as deep irregularities in the counting process.
We know that democracy lies not only in the voting, but in the counting.
We have been open and engaged with the ECZ regarding our concerns at every possible point through official channels. However, despite this, there are many aspects of the election process and results that have continued to be highly irregular and fallen far short of the democratic process Zambians aspire for.
Whilst we want to reinforce the personal high-esteem in which we, the UPND, hold the Chairperson and the commissioners of the ECZ, there are some known individuals within the ECZ who have acted with utter impunity, corruption and total disregard for a democratic process by manipulating the election results.
Let me provide you with a few examples of how the process fell short of the standards expected:
Yesterday, the ECZ, realising there had been some discrepancies in the numbers announced so far, allowed members of the UPND and PF to be present for verification at the ECZ for all 150 constituencies. Yet, despite recognising discrepancies, the commission has only provided 32 out of the 150 constituencies for verification promising to provide the balance later. The constituencies involved had many serious irregularities involving the accuracy of the numbers. This is a glaring deliberate omission.
Following our meeting yesterday we were also assured by the ECZ that we were going to be provided with the full details for each of the constituencies counted, and yet right now we are still waiting for these despite being guaranteed yesterday.
Problems have also arisen from the delays in the provision of full results breakdowns for each constituency from the ECZ to the various parties, even three days after some of the results have been announced. In addition, biased and selective release of results, incorrect displays of figures suggesting that the candidate from PF was leading throughout during television reports and on the ECZ website itself have added to the confusion and undermined our confidence at several points. This was happening while people were still voting in other areas just to create an impression that Patriotic Front was winning the election even when it was clear that the race was still very tight.
The ECZ has always been very clear about restricting access to the ballot receiving rooms. There was supposed to be strong controls in place to maintain this and no technology equipment is allowed in, and yet we know unauthorized people were allowed in these rooms with smart phones. ECZ knew about this. Where is the vote protection consistency and reliability here?
Our own vote protection efforts at polling stations where voting was extended beyond 20 th Jan 2015 to monitor ourselves were severely hampered at last minute and without apparent due reason despite prior granting of permissions for our helicopters to fly, these flight permissions were revoked. ZAF continued to delay in granting clearance with no clear reason as to why. This has understandably raised suspicion and concern when the Minister of Defence is himself a candidate in the election.
Our outstanding concerns, in the context of this election has left us deeply alarmed that the wrong result has been arrived at, which does not reflect the will of our people.
Over the last eight weeks of the campaign we have been all over our country listening to the views and concerns of our people. We made a promise to them that we would give everything we have to serve them, and we will uphold that.
On behalf of the UPND I need to thank my supporters across the country for their efforts throughout the campaign. Your support, energy and dedication has been truly astounding and we thank you. we have been truly humbled by your support.
We wish to thank our alliance partners including members of parliament for your support. We wish to thank all the Zambian citizens from all walks of life who have come out in support for us. Regardless of the outcome of this election I have no doubt that this momentum for the UPND will continue to grow.
As we know, this election was brought upon us in unfortunate circumstances following the death of our late President. We have been putting plans into place for the 2016 general election and those plans remain.
Before then though, we firmly believe that the 2016 elections should be held on the platform of a new constitution and Independent Electoral Commission to prevent a repeat of the shambles we have seen over the last few days.
Until then, I, and all citizens working together, will continue to fight for a better Zambia.
Ultimately, this election has been a sham and does not reflect the will of the majority of Zambians. If Edgar Lungu is sworn in as President he will certainly be an illegitimate president going by what we have discovered at the ECZ. Edgar Lungu truly knows that the results that have been given to him by individuals at the ECZ are not from the citizens who voted. Those individuals, who are less than twenty at ECZ, have to bear the burden of over 14 millions Zambians.
We in the UPND, together with our partners and ordinary citizens, will be watching closely and we will be ready to win another election in 20 months time under a new constitution.
Despite the fact that the election was stolen from us, I urge all our party members and supporters across our country to remain calm and peaceful for the good of Zambia.
I thank you all.
May God Bless the Republic of Zambia. May God bless you all.